Based on current market predictions, farmers are extremely anxious that Spring 2016 is going to bring very serious cashflow and financial issues for them, according to Mr. John Comer, President of ICMSA. “While high constituents at this time of year have helped mask the reductions in milk price over the past number of months, this support will be well and truly gone when cows calve down next Spring with low constituents and the stark reality of milk price reductions hits farmers. We’re very concerned at this stage that the other components in the supply chain – while talking about giving support – will keep their own margins and leave farmers take the full squeeze like they have so many times in the past. Our anxiety hasn’t been helped by the unjustifiable decision of GIIL to cut milk price to 24 cents per litre when any reasonable breakdown of market returns gives a milk price in excess of 26 cents per litre. If processors are reluctant to pay an easily-identifiable market price now then we frankly worry about their decision-making in Spring 2016.”
Mr Comer also described as “incredibly naive” the suggestion that the Commission’s work is done following the announcement of the support package on September 7.
“A lot of the problems affecting farmers all over the EU are directly linked to political decisions – the Russian ban is a perfect example – and farmers cannot be expected to ‘pick up the tab’ for this political ban into next spring. Further actions are needed to support the market and, at a minimum, intervention price needs to be increased. Farm ministers have bluffed their way around this issue blaming others and circumstances when it’s been obvious for a long time now that a much more fundamental reappraisal of the viability of the present supply chain and margin-allocation is required. In the meantime, the responsibility lies with the Commission and Farm Council. They have the option to increase the intervention price and they need to do so at the November Farm Council”, said Mr. Comer.
The ICMSA President said that one practical way for Minister Coveney and the Government to help farmers in the event of any Spring 2016 ‘crunch’ was to force financial institutions to offer real rather than token support to their farmer customers with one option being the linking of repayment levels to milk price and a serious attempt to bring Irish interest rates need to be brought into line with EU norms and an end to extortionate rate charging.
Ends 30 October 2015.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office